E3 Organizers ‘Actively Assessing’ Coronavirus Outbreak, Still Planning to Hold June Event in L.A.

Todd Spangler

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E3, the annual video-games conference in Los Angeles, is still on for now amid the spread of the coronavirus — but the event’s organizers said they are “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”

Last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, drew 66,100 attendees. The 2020 gaming showcase is scheduled to run June 9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A. The expo is produced by the Entertainment Software Assn., the gaming industry trade group.

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“While the ESA continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show June 9-11, 2020 — we are monitoring and evaluating the situation daily,” the org said in an update Wednesday. “Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show.”

Last week, the company that produces the Game Developers Conference (GDC) cancelled the event in San Francisco scheduled for March 16-20 over coronavirus concerns but said it planned to hold a GDC event later this summer.

The ESA’s latest statement comes after Los Angeles County on Wednesday declared a state of emergency because of the virus outbreak, after confirming six additional cases of novel coronavirus infection in L.A. County after identifying the first case in January. According to the county’s health department, none of the new cases are from “community spread” and were individuals “exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts.” Also Wednesday, officials in Placer County, Calif., which is in the greater Sacramento area, announced the first coronavirus-related death in California.

Regardless of whether this year’s E3 goes forward or not, video-game giant Sony Interactive Entertainment will skip the event for the second year in a row.

“We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year,” Sony said in a statement in January. Sony is gearing up to launch the next-generation PlayStation 5 console, which is scheduled to ship in time for the 2020 holiday-shopping season.

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